Centered around bassists Matthew Henninger and Cameron McLaughlin, Balancing Act put together an organic mix of funk, neo-soul, and groove jazz on their self-titled debut album. An unusual concept in theory, the two-bass style of this six-piece ensemble works superbly in practice and allows Henninger and McLaughlin to layer various melodies and rhythms on top of each other in sophisticated and increasingly funky ways. This is pop music informed by such legendary bassists as Jaco Pastorious and Bootsy Collins. In that sense, songs such as the midtempo jam "Rubber B-Man" as well as the pastoral "On Winding Roads" find Henninger and McLaughlin weaving their supple, rounded bass figures into patchwork quilts of sound. And it's not just the four-string voices that impress here. On the contrary, with vocals from drummer Jonathan Ovalle, organist Joshua Shilling, as well as contributions from singers Madeline Davis and Angel Bond, Balancing Act bring to mind the polished acid-jazz approach Brand New Heavies mixed with the classic work of '70s soul icon Bill Withers.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar